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Blue Monday: Fats Domino and the Lost Dawn of Rock 'n' Roll Hardcover – April 24, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (April 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306814919
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306814914
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,685,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"When people get started dancing and having a good time, they don't care what color you are," reflected Herbert Hardesty, one of Antoine "Fats" Domino's band members, on the ability of Domino's music to break through the color barrier in postwar America. It is a recurring theme in Coleman's biography, as are, not surprisingly, segregation and mainstream society's reception to rock 'n' roll, particularly songs by African Americans. Based on interviews and years of research, Coleman's book is well-written and full of lively details about life on the road, recording sessions and how things worked in Domino's inner circle. After making quick work of Domino's grandparents and childhood, Coleman begins a chronological journey through Domino's life, peppering his narrative with important events in music and the civil rights movement. Although Coleman touches lightly on some of Domino's irresponsible behavior-his drinking, womanizing and ambivalence to curtain times set the mold by which later rock stars would be cast-the book borders on hagiography. Also, Coleman's suggestions that the earliest African-American performers of rock 'n' roll are largely forgotten and that there still persists a myth that it all began with Elvis are outmoded at best. However, Coleman's book succeeds as a warm tribute to an American music icon.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Coleman launches the first book-length biography of a New Orleans legend by contending that Fats Domino's 1949 "thunderous rocker," "The Fat Man," has a more legitimate claim than Elvis Presley's "That's All Right" to being the first rock 'n' roll song. He argues that Domino's seminal role in rock history is underappreciated, and it's genuinely easy to agree with him. Coleman intertwines Domino's biography and the story of an American society changing in the 1940s and 1950s so that race and pop music often merged. Domino became a reliable hit maker on the mainstream charts and a smiling TV presence, which was then still odd for an African American. Fats' indomitable spirit pervades the book, even in discussions of his gambling problems, inspiriting the story of an excellent musician who provided a link between such older Crescent City R&B giants as Professor Longhair and young rockers like Ernie K-Doe. Fats Domino's story is central to rock history, making this a must for the pop music shelves. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

Thoroughly researched and extremely well written.
Scott R. Porter
Thanks to Rick Coleman for writing this entertaining and educational book about Fats Domino and the blues scene in New Orleans.
Lerd
He is so ordinary, like most of the rest of the world.
Mr. John E. Irving

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Peter J. Riley on March 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been fortunate enough to read an advance of this great book. As a fairly knowledgeable and well read music fan this book was a real eye opener on the importance of Mr. Domino in the history of rock n' roll. Mr. Coleman does a tremendous job of not only revealing the stature of Fat's own work but also places it in rich gumbo that is the of history of New Orleans rhythm and blues and rock n' roll.

Colman's deep devotion, love and knowledge of New Orleans indigenous music infuse this magnificent book. It is critical to note that Fats' as both a man and a musician is so deeply embedded in his beloved city of New Orleans that there would have been no way to properly write his story without giving it this context. Consequently we not only have the story of Fat's, we learn about the important contributions of arranger Dave Bartholomew, band leader Herbert Hardesty, the great New Orleans engineer and studio master Cosimo Matassa and dozens of other colorful folk that had a hand in the story.

Extensive personal interviews with the principles and over 20 years of local research have gone into writing this fine story, i.e. this is NOT one of those "hit and run" professional, biographies.

Overriding the narrative at hand is Mr. Coleman's premise (as implied in the title) that New Orleans is truly the birthplace of rock n' roll, and it is a point he makes with intelligence, force and wit. All this makes "Blue Monday: Fats Domino and the Lost Dawn of Rock 'n' Roll" required reading for not only fans of the GREAT Fats Domino but of students of rhythm and blues, rock n' roll and New Orleans music in general and will become, along with the works of John Broven, Jeff Hannusch and others required reading for all fans New Orleans rhythm and blues, rock n' roll and indeed of anyone interested in American roots or popular music.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By peterfromkanata on June 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This superb biography of Fats Domino was long overdue, but worth the wait. I agree completely with the other positive reviews, especially the comments of Mr. Riley. Knowledgable author, Rick Coleman, has captured the spirit of New Orleans' musical legacy, and one of its most famous and talented sons, Fats Domino.

While Mr. Coleman takes us through the life of this important pioneer of modern, popular music, his book covers even wider issues that faced the United States of America as it entered the second half of the twentieth century. The fifties was a watershed decade in a number of social, political, economic and cultural areas. As "baby boomers" entered their teens, they wanted more "freedom"--their own style with respect to clothes, hairstyles, movies and, of course, music. Many found the rhythm and blues music of African American artists to be more exciting than the sanitized recordings of many caucasian singers and musicians, and Fats Domino found a huge audience--both black and white--for one hit after another.

Of course, as Mr. Coleman reminds us, Fats Domino, and other black artists, still had to deal with racism and exploitation every day. The civil rights movement became a force in the fifties that could no longer be ignored, although it was frequently dealt with in a most brutal manner. The book also reflects the rising power of the media, especially that new phenomenon, television. Important historical events--the Korean War, McCarthyism, Sputnik--further enhance this portrait of an important era.

If you are a fan of classic rock n' roll and rhythm and blues, this book is a "must read". While Fats takes "centre stage", you will also meet many of Mr.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mark C. Hoffman on June 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
From his first record in 1949 until his harrowing escape from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Antoine "Fats" Domino has defined New Orleans and its culture. This book puts Fats, his city, and his music into perspective in amazing detail. In the process, Rick Coleman convincingly demonstrates that Fats and his collaborators--especially songwriter/arranger Dave Bartholomew and producer Cosimo Matassa--have as solid a claim as Elvis, Carl, and Jerry Lee with Sam Phillips in Memphis or Wolf, Muddy, and Chuck with the Chess brothers in Chicago as the prime architects of rock 'n' roll. The product of more than 20 years of exhaustive research, this is, surprisingly, the first biography of one of the greatest early rock stars. Coleman had his work cut out for him; Fats is notoriously reclusive. Nevertheless, you come away from this book admiring Fats's talent and drive, and Coleman's exhaustive research and evocative writing. All the other great Louisiana rockers are here--the bayou wild men, backwoods musical savants, and forgotten honkers, shouters, string-benders, and drum-thumpers who helped create the Crescent City sound. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to understand the real, complete history of rock 'n' roll instead of the revisionist pap that passes for such.
-Mark Hoffman, co-author of "Moanin' at Midnight: The Life and Times of Howlin' Wolf"
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dave 'Doctor' Pepper on January 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I really loved this book - and not just because it quotes my review of Fats' Seventies Australian Tour - but because, unlike most books about Fifties Rock Artists, it doesn't drop dead with the arrival of the Beatles in 1964. It's terrific to read about how Fats went on, recording, playing Vegas and touring around the world pretty much up until the present time when he was rescued from the dangerous waters of Hurricane Katrina. The early stuff is great too - the ripoffs, the gambling (!!), the womanising and most of all the wonderful music, never forgetting that after Elvis he was the biggest Rock'n'Roll record seller of the Fifties. That's the real crux of the matter - Fats' great records, great performances and great charactor - he's an all round wonderful guy. The picture this book paints of the New Orleans music scene is totally fascinating with a cast of larger than life charactors like Lee Allen, Dave Bartholomew, Lew Chudd,Paul Gayten, Bobby Marchan, Huey 'Piano' Smith and so many others. If you ever dreamed of New Orleans, the Land of Dreams this is a book you must read ... and after that get every Fats Domino record you can and play them forever!
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